(WXYZ) - Summer thrill seekers flock to area carnivals and festivals for the rides. They flip us, spin us and turn our stomachs upside down.
But, can they also harm us?
Every year, millions of people hop on contraptions that spin, flip and go round and round.
“I like the speed and how high they go, “said 10-year-old Ashton D’Angelo.
The fearless fun does make some moms nervous, especially at the smaller venues.
Veronica Brothers says, “It’s always in the back of your mind, you know, that something could go wrong.”
While it doesn’t happen often, things do go wrong. In March 2012, a 3-year-old girl was on a ride with her 8-year-old brother at a carnival in Houston. She slipped out of the ride and fell nearly eight feet to the ground.
In June 2011, a 36-year-old Westland resident was at the Livonia Spree when she was injured after getting hit by a piece of scenery that fell from the “Fighter” ride.
7 Action News obtained the State of Michigan’s report into the incident. It reveals, some of the screws on the ride were at least ten years old and showed damage and corrosion.
“We want to make sure all the safety restraints are like they need to be.” said Jonathan Brooks, President of the Wagner-Consulting Group, who we met up with Brooks at the Livonia Spree.
Brooks is an independent ride inspector hired by the carnival’s insurance company. The State of Michigan has its own ride inspectors to make sure parks are following safety regulations before allowing carnivals and fairs to open. Brooks often is on site for several days.
“This stuff gets tore down and moved,” said Brooks. “We want to make sure all the pins and hardware is in place.”
According to the State of Michigan, only about 30 amusement ride related injuries are reported to the state annually, compared to the estimated 50 to 100 million rides taken in Michigan each year.
A study of injuries over a twelve year period showed eighty percent were caused by the rider’s own actions.
“A lot of what goes on in the amusement industry is patron related. Somebody standing up when they are not suppose to be standing up and not paying attention to the safety signage,“ said Brooks.
Ride inspectors also check ride operators to make sure they are paying attention to what’s happening around them and not distracted by cell phones or other people.
You can find more information about amusement ride safety, including tips for parents, at www.saferparks.org .
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